Is your FitBit spying on you for the NSA?

I previously reported how the National Security Agency (NSA) used the Elf on the Shelf to spy on American families. Although the NSA’s SANTA (Securing America’s Noel Toy Allotment) program was quite successful during the Christmas season the usefulness of the program waned once people boxed the shelf-perching monitoring devices with the rest of their holiday decor. This left the NSA in search of a new data collection tool, and they found something even more ubiquitous than the Elf on the Shelf: wearable fitness trackers.

NSA fitness trackers
This may or may not be an image from an NSA field test.
Photo credit: ekai / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Wearable technology fitness trackers from companies including FitBit, JawBone, and Nike have become increasingly popular over the past year. Because they are worn by the user around the clock they are ideal monitoring devices.

According to an NSA analyst speaking under the condition of anonymity, the NSA has established partnerships with several major fitness tracker brands. He declined to name the specific fitness tracker manufacturers involved since they are not actually aware that they are partnered with the NSA.

He laughed when he said that.

My source then described the appeal of fitness trackers to the NSA,

Sure, the SANTA program saw when you were sleeping and knew when you were awake, but these go further. These things know when you are sleeping, and they know the quality of that sleep. Is your restlessness a sign that you are nervous about an act of terrorism you are planning?

They know when you are awake as well as how active you are. Is that sudden change in activity an indication of a terror attack dry run?

He also hinted that there were hidden features of the fitness trackers that the NSA used for data collection. He would not  give specifics, but he did say that the NSA has the following suggestions for fitness tracker users:

  • Try to avoid being an areas surrounded by tall buildings such as those that might obscure communications with a GPS satellite.
  • Always talk directly into your fitness tracker. For no reason. Just do it.
  • Avoid covering your fitness tracker under long sleeves or anything else that would block any hidden cameras that totally do not exist, we swear!
  • Be sure to wear your fitness tracker in the shower and then just let your wrist linger near…yes…that’s good…rub the lather slowly… [At this point my source seemed distracted by something he was watching in his Google Glass, and the interview had to be suspended.]

Before leaving, the analyst emphatically denied that NSA backdoors in popular fitness trackers were to blame for users’ erratic behavior and subsequent tendency go slowly insane in pursuit of 10,000 steps per day.

nsa fitbit picard four lights

This is satire, but not by much. Read 5 reasons you should care about the NSA and privacy issues.

Related fiction and satire:

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